I have mixed feelings about The Altar by Elsha Fornefeld, there were parts of the story, which were compelling and captured my interest. Particularly, the opening sequence when Ava and her friend narrowly escape death when the car she is driving spins out on black ice plunging through the railing and into the icy winter waters below. Ava pushes her friend to safety but is unable to free herself from her seat-belt and goes over the edge with her vehicle. She is saved from certain death by a mysterious man, who seems to be unaffected by the frigid waters, and with whom she feels an instant connection. When Ava awakens in the hospital he is gone and she feels unaccountably bereft. His identity remains a mystery until she returns to classes the week following and her mentor’s replacement is none other than her unidentified rescuer.
Ava Cook is a vibrant senior in college, is about to be, thrust into two different worlds that she never knew existed; a world of sacrifice, blood-lust, power, and immortality that she will likely never return from.
However, there are two very distinct reasons that might make her never want return to normal.
Damen her professor, the man who saves her life, haunts her dreams, and is literally off limits to her. He is there every moment she needs him, making her confused with his longing touch. And Travis, who is large, masculine, possessive, and one of the most handsome men she has ever seen and he has eyes for her alone.
Ava must fight her feelings for both of them, while Damen and Travis are forced to work together from opposite sides to keep her safe from Braden, who certain that Ava knows the key to ultimate power, immortality and knowledge of the Aztecs.
All of them are certain that she is the key to unlocking the legends of these powers, but Ava does not know herself what they are after; all the while being forced to choose between love and safety, and in whose arms she can find it.
Knowing a relationship with her professor/mentor is off limits Ava allows herself to become involved with Travis. This was unfortunately where I began to have trouble with the direction of the story. The connection between Ava and Damen was instant and convincing. From her first date with Travis, a set up with her best friends roommates, the relationship feels awkward and forced, which in and of itself is not a problem as love triangles are often skewed. When Travis declares his love for Ava and she replies that she feels the same I found I lost respect for her character. A case of double “insta-love” simply required more suspension of disbelief than I was capable of.
After the dramatic sequence where Damen rescues Ava from drowning the tempo of the story changed and it felt like the reader is being being “told” rather than “shown”. Furthermore, as the details behind the secrecy surrounding Damen and Travis were revealed, I began to lose interest finding that they bogged down the pace rather than lending a sense of intrigue. However, despite the fact that I wasn’t captivated by this story anyone with an interest in Aztec or even biblical history may find it more to their liking.
AUTHOR: Elsha Fornefeld
RATING: 2 1/2 Stars
Note – Thank you to the author for providing a copy of their book in exchange for a fair and honest review.